P J Thomas appointed new Central Vigilance Commissioner

President Pratibha Patil administered the oath of office to Thomas, a 1973 batch IAS officer of Kerala cadre, at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan. Thomas succeeded Pratyush Sinha, a 1969 batch IAS officer of Bihar cadre, who demitted office yesterday after a four-year tenure as the CVC.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah and Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar were among those present at the swearing-in ceremony.

The selection of the new CVC was marked by a controversy after Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, who is part of three-member selection committee, objected to the choice of Thomas as the chief of anti-corruption watchdog alleging he has a tainted background.

Swaraj had given a 'dissent note' on the selection of Thomas alleging that he had a hand in the "cover up" of the 2G spectrum scam. However, the Prime Minister yesterday defended the appointment of Thomas as the new CVC.

"We have done the right thing. We have chosen the best candidate out of the list of three," he had told a group of editors here. Thomas's name was cleared by a selection committee comprising the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister.

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